PNC has mechanisms to “deal with” members who become “involved in racism” – Norton

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana
Aubrey Norton

Leader of the Peoples National Congress Reform (PNC/R) Aubrey Norton has contended that the party has mechanisms in place to deal with members who “become involved in racism”.

He made the remarks during a press conference today after be hit with a series of questions in relation to allegations of racial hostility within the party that were made by former treasurer, Faaiz Mursalin.

Mursalin, who has been affiliated with the PNC/R for close to a decade, was elected Treasurer of the party in December of 2021. But in December of last year, he as well as General Secretary Geeta-Chandan-Edmond, both resigned from their respective positions.

Mursalin’s reason for resigning has now come to light in a letter he addressed to the PNC/R Central Executive Committee (CEC).

In it, Mursalin contends that he faced racial discrimination during his time as Treasurer, including from a named well-known figure in the party. According to him, the party leadership seemed not to care about addressing this behaviour.

But Norton claims that no allegations of racism were made against him and rather, insisted that he and Mursalin share a good relationship.

Reminded by a reporter of the claims made in the letter, the PNC Leader argued, “I am in no position to trust your word…Mursalin never raised the issue of racism with me, and had he raised it, I would have addressed it.”

Notwithstanding, Norton said the PNC/R has mechanisms in place to deal with members who become involved in racism, however, he did not reveal what those mechanisms are.

“The PNC/R has always been a party that embraces all ethnic groups. The party’s policy is clear, the PNC/R is for all Guyanese and if anyone in the party becomes involved in racism, the party has mechanisms to deal with it. I would have been told that or had… in writing anything for Mursalin on the question of racism, I would have ensured that there was an investigation in the party and the appropriate action taken based on the outcome,” Norton contended.

In light of the recent letter sent by Mursalin, Norton indicated that he is not aware of the correspondent but will doublecheck.

Moreover, he said the party is willing to have a proper investigation into any such accusation.

In an interview with this publication, Mursalin had emphasised that change is necessary for the party to regain the trust of the electorate and to be a more tenable environment for him to operate in.

“I think things need to change and change rapidly. The party executive needs to take that action on how they want to see things change, maybe with new leader, maybe with a no confidence motion to make this leader call a biennial delegates conference as soon as possible.”

“The PNC is not a bad party or a racial party, but its people within it. One bad apple can make the whole basket get bad. The party is the bigger picture now. It’s about talking about what they are doing and saving the party integrity and face… I’m not the old party official… where I won’t talk about what is wrong and right. I’m one of the young politicians, when you’re wrong, I’ll say that you’re wrong. And the current leadership is wrong and I couldn’t continue with them.”

Mursalin noted that Norton is like a “one man show” in the party and said that if the PNC/R makes drastic changes, it could regain the confidence of the voting population. Asked about the blank cheques, Mursalin admitted that he was worried about them in light of the fact that he still does not know how much money was written on these cheques or how the money was used.

“I’m worried and saddened. I kinda knock myself up because I couldn’t speak out earlier. It came to a point where the racial hostility came in and it became overbearing… to regain confidence, we have to bite the bullet and say what is wrong, is wrong and what is right, is right.”

Meanwhile, Mursalin had won 404 votes in the PNC/R’s internal elections in December of 2021, to become treasurer.